I leave the hotel early, taking advantage of cool morning hours to climb from 3k to 7k elevation. The views today are glorious. After climbing down to 3k to cross the Lemah River, the trail goes back up to 5.5k. I run out of daylight before reaching a lake, and stop at a nearby campsite.
Hot Sauce and I arrive in town at about the same time, communicating by text. We were planning to share a room at the Summit Inn, but when we learn that PCT hiker room rates are quite affordable, we get separate rooms.
Many PCT hikers are at the motel. My room has an actual bathtub instead of a mere shower, and I soak pleasantly.
I had a supply box mailed to the Inn, and organize my food bag, and take a well-deserved rest in my room.
The path has many little ups and downs today, exhausting and not always necessary, and any views are obscured by haze from a fire. So I will chat about gear, and you are welcome to skip if not to your interest.
I wake up to an alarm from my phone. When summer days were longer I woke up to robins singing, but now I need a little more time to meet my self-imposed mileage goal.
I am not very tall, so I can sit up straight in the tent, a blue Zpacks Hexamid. This is not a dome tent, so requires several tent stakes, and the use of one trekking pole, but is wonderfully light-weight, about a pound.
My clothes bag is my mosquito headnet. At night, full of clothes not worn, it is a pillow when stuffed inside my hat. Things at once!
Reaching for the clothes bag, I pull out a long sleeve merino shirt, long nylon pants, wool socks, hat, and runners gaiters, which keep small rocks out of shoes. A bandana is hanging up to dry from my sponge-bath the night before, and is tied around my neck.
I put in the clothes bag my camp clothes: compression socks, a short sleeve merino shirt, and shorts, fleece hat, and neck gaiter which is used as sleep mask.
My down sleeping bag is stuffed into its own sack. My head-lamp next to my sleeping pad goes into my mesh tool bag.
My smaller mesh bag is for toiletries.
With my clothes on I start placing items in pockets. The cell phone and earbuds go into front left. The tent stake bag and tent stuff sack goes into the front right pocket, temporarily, along with sunglasses.
My sleeping pad is a torso-length foam pad that folds into thirds.
The sleeping pad doubles as signage.
My legs rest at night on my empty backpack, with shoes underneath. The pad goes into the backpack at my back, with the sleeping bag in the bottom, arranged with my wallet in a zip bag underneath so I can reach back anytime and check that it is there.
Now items are placed just outside the tent: water bottles, backpack, solar panel and charger and usb cable, food bag, tool bag, toiletries bag, and clothes bag.
Outside the tent myself, all tent stakes go immediately into the tent stake bag, careful not to lose any, and the stake bag it wedged in a special spot at the bottom of my backpack.
The tent is gathered and stuffed inside its sack, whick now goes on top of the sleeping bag in the backpack.
The food bag goes on top of the tent in my pack. Except today’s snacks in a zip bag go in the pack outer pocket, with the first two snacks inside my pack strap pocket.
A separate zip bag holds items for tonight’s dinner.
The clothes bag goes in my pack on top of the food bag, with tool bag, toiletries bag, and dinner bag on very top.
After closing the pack, the solar panel is clipped on top, with charger in the outer pocket.
Two one-liter water bottles go into pack side pockets, with a squeeze water filter screwed onto one water bottle. I can easily grab the bottles while wearing the pack.
The pack goes on, the cellphone goes into the pack strap pocket, I grab my carbon-fiber trekking poles, and time to hike!
My goal is to be on the trail within 30 minutes of waking.
In the evening, around 5PM, I start my first dinner soaking, since I am going no-cook and soaking might take a few hours. If using dehydrated cooked chicken or TVP cubes, I soak that separately. These go in double zip bags and in the pack outer pocket, to mitigate against leakage.
My long sleeve merino shirt is not sturdy enough to resist abrasion from the pack. I am on my third shirt this trip. Next trip will try a nylon hiking shirt.
Hiking in long sleeves is hot. I wanted protection from sun and bugs, but am ready to try shorts next trip, like the vast majority of hikers.
My Altra shoes are letting in a lot of fine dirt, which easily passes through wool socks and sticks on my feet. A sponge bath is necessary every evening.
Putting the day’s snack food in the outer pack pocket is not optimum, because it shifts the center of gravity backwards.
Today we get quite attractive views with spruce, spaced out and the shape of Christmas trees, and scree and rock and grass. The Park Service foot bridge at Chinook Pass also serves as an entry sign, built of massive logs. Past Chinook Pass and the nearby lake, the path leads along the side of a long steep ridge, mostly level, and goes for miles. Here is more trail along steep ridge. Up so high I can escape mosquitos most of the day. We get a view of Mount Rainier with clouds. Across the basin one can see a ski area and mine. Here is yet another view of path along steep ridge. The trail passes underneath steep scree/talus, with a small rockfall just as I go by. How strange that such a steep slope can be stable Later the path follows the top of a ridge along a burn area, with rare rainfall and lightning.
At Urich Cabin, Splash and Pizza cook hot dogs with onions and roasted jalepenos, and also provide cold drinks and snacks for trail magic. Urich Cabin was built by a snowmobile group, and PCT hikers are allowed to use. Thru-hikers Hot Sauce and Eleven (southbound) enjoy the magic. Section hiker Papa Sul arrives later. Good conversation ensues.
Hot Sauce enjoys a dog.
Finished audiobook The Warden, by Anthony Trollope.